The Baltimore Ravens are in third place in the AFC North with a record of 3-5. The first place Bengals are 6-3. If the Ravens want to keep up with their division rivals in Ohio, a win against Cincinnati on Sunday is crucial.
The Ravens have been unable to get a win since Week 5, when they defeated the Miami Dolphins, 26-23.
They have been struggling, mainly on offense, and it isn't going to get any easier against the Bengals. Fortunately for Baltimore, Bengals' LB Ray Maualuga and DT Geno Atkins are both out for the game. Those two inactives could help players like Joe Flacco and Ray Rice a lot when it comes to pressure and tackling abilities.
As for the Ravens' defense, it could be a fairly easier game if the players listed as questionable for the Bengals became inactive. RB Giovani Bernard and TE Jermaine Gresham could both possibly be listed as out.
Giovani Bernard, the rookie running back out of North Carolina, has been dominant for the Bengals. He scored the only two touchdowns of the game for Cincinnati in the overtime loss against the Dolphins on Halloween night. If he were to be out of Sunday's game, the Ravens would have to go up against BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the starting running back, which is much less of a challenge than playing Bernard.
No matter who is in or out for either team, if the offensive line for Baltimore can't start playing better, there is no way they can get the win. They have looked atrocious, and even in last week's game against the Browns, Joe Flacco was looking a little shaky with his throws, mainly underthrowing his receivers.
The Ravens will have to get all of their pieces together and use them effectively if they want to get the win on Sunday. Their season could possibly be on the line, and if they lose, it would be very hard to bounce back.
The AFC North looks like this:
1. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3)
2. Cleveland Browns (4-5)
3. Baltimore Ravens (3-5)
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)
If the Ravens were to lose on Sunday, the Bengals would have a 7-3 record, while the Ravens had a 3-6 record. To win the division from there, the Ravens would have to get four wins just to tie the Bengals' number of wins in Week 10. Scenarios for each team winning the division will come tonight in the weekly AFC North Report.
It is going to be a tough game for both teams, and every Ravens fan in the universe will be waiting to see if the Ravens can win a game against a strong divisional opponent. A win they need to keep their season alive and healthy.